Saturday, October 18, 2014

ONLINE DATING TIPS, Part 3: ACT ON IT

This isn’t a Sears catalog or an International Male flyer. Hopefully, you’re not on site as a mere peeper. The people behind the pics aren’t just posers. Presumably, they are interested in dating. It is, after all, a dating site. Each profile is ostensibly a real person. He has hopes. Sometimes, alas, it’s just a need for validation—internet strangers conveying a message that he is interesting, hot or, well, message-worthy. I suppose that’s something. Another guy is looking for a hookup. It’s nice when he makes that clear. I wish he’d stick with Grindr or Scruff or an equally handy app for the horny, but he’s waiting, too.

And then there are the rest of us, the ones wanting to date, hoping that something longer term may evolve. Two dates, two weeks,…dare we hope for more?

But it all starts with a message.

Have some guts. Do it.

Dating sites have all sorts of tactics for the timid. You can “favorite” the guy, rate him five stars, wink, nod, blush, do whatever the site’s gentle nudge option is. That’s not brave. It reminds me of my first school dance in sixth grade. Painful. All the girls lined up against one wall of the gym. All the guys leaned on the opposite wall. “Get Up and Boogie” blared through the speaker system. No one got up; no one boogied.

Be bold. A distant wink gets lost in the dim lighting.

I say this knowing how brutally risky it can feel. I can out-shy almost anyone. But it becomes exhilarating when you have a flash of bashful-intolerance. Way back when at that dance-less dance, I looked at Gary Elliott and he looked at me. No, it wasn’t a googly-eyed glance. I was still programmed to think girls were the intended partner. We nodded, counted to three and strutted—er, shuffled—across the gym floor. He asked Becky; I asked Della. And then the dominoes fell in place. We got the party started.

I peaked in sixth grade.

But it’s time for a renaissance, guys. Nix the nudging. Create a new peak. Cross that floor. Make the first move. Take some control over your life.

Send him a message.

Yes, him! He’s probably been nudged a thousand times (or, at least, ten). Your nudge doesn’t stand out from other nudges.

SEND HIM A MESSAGE. (But, please, not in all-caps. That’s just annoying.)

The good news, if your mind automatically defaults to Worst Case Scenario, is that rejection is rarely overt online. I’ve yet to have someone message back and say, “For real? What in the hell made you think you were in my league? You REPULSE me. I gagged when I saw your message. Literally. Vomited. Had to steam clean the carpet. Yeah, thanks for that.”

When he’s not interested, he doesn’t reply. Sometimes rudeness is an act of mercy. Let him go. And do like I do—reward yourself with ice cream. You took a shot. You did something. That’s more than 80% of the guys online who keep hoping and praying that the wink/poke/like button will bring true love. Or a quick romp. Or whatever the hell it is that they’re passively waiting for.

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